01. Coaching is a discretionary activity that I can choose to undertake or not.
FALSE. Every time you interact with one of your people, you're conveying or implying messages about your priorities, opinions and immediate preferences. In other words, you don't have the choice - you're coaching. The only choice you have is whether to do it well or badly. Doing it well offers a better return on your management efforts than almost any other activity.
02. The first coaching priority must be to raise the performance of my poorest sellers.
FALSE.Poor performers usually demand significant effort for limited payoff. At best, you'll make them into average sellers. The biggest bottom-line results will come from moving those sellers who are already performing reasonably into the high performance area. Focus on them first; as the Second Commandment of Coaching tells us, "Work with the healthy".
03. Coaching people who don't want to be coached is going to be hard work.
TRUE.It sure is! So, just like the last point, put effort where it will get the best payback. Start with those who are receptive to your coaching and leave those who are resistant to later. The First Commandment of Coaching states, "Don't try to teach a pig to sing. It's hard work and all it does is annoy the pig." If someone remains wholly resistant, don't waste your precious coaching time - deal with him or her in another way.
04. Coaching involves telling people how they can do their job better.
FALSE.Good coaches know that most people, unless they are complete novices, have the answer to their performance problems within them. They just need someone to help them think things through and implement any changes. Don't tell people how they could do their job better, ask them. After all, why should you do all the thinking for them?
05. Coaching takes time.
TRUE.Of course it does, but it doesn't take as much time as most people think. An effective coaching interaction rarely lasts more than 15 minutes. More than that and 'paralysis by analysis' sets in and priorities become confused. The major time investment that coaches have to make is in accompanying their people to observe their performance. This enables them to focus their coaching and base it on facts, not second hand reports filtered by the sellers involved.
06. You can't teach old dogs new tricks.
TRUE or FALSE!If you think you can't, you're right; if you think you can, you're right. There are certainly many reasons why old dogs don't learn new tricks, and many of them have to do with the coach. If you don't believe they can change, why should they? Two other traps are focusing exclusively on the negatives and asking people to change too many things at the same time. So, make sure your coaching covers positive as well as negative performance areas and agree one change at a time.
07. Coaching can't deal with fundamental problems of attitude.
FALSE.It can be done, but trying directly to confront inappropriate attitudes, values and beliefs is hard work. You can however influence these things indirectly by focusing on changes to their consequent behaviour. If the person concerned accomplishes the behaviour change and feels rewarded for it in some way, then that feeds back into a more positive attitude
08. If you can't measure it, you can't coach it.
TRUE. Or at least, it is very difficult. "What gets measured, gets done," says the Ninth Commandment. Nothing focuses the mind like the knowledge that efforts are being tracked. Being able to measure performance improvements motivates further effort. Measuring results is important, but they may take time to accrue, so you need to measure things that contribute to those results, the productive behaviours. By the way, if you believe that you can't measure behaviour, you need to speak to us here at Huthwaite - we've been doing it for years.
09. If people aren't rewarded for improvement, it won't last.
TRUE.The Tenth Commandment of Coaching builds on the Ninth to remind us that, "What gets rewarded, gets done first." The ultimate coaching reward for you and your people is improved sales performance and all the financial benefits that might result. However that can take time. In the meantime, reward the improvers and the tryers by communicating and celebrating success publicly.
10. You can't compare the return on investment in a coaching project with that of other initiatives.
FALSE.For years, we have also been proving the ROI on sales effectiveness coaching projects. Effective coaching is an essential element within the Huthwaite Approach and underpins our claim to, 'Change behaviour, change results'. Our clients have seen independently audited performance improvement of up to 17% in revenue and 10% in profit. If you'd like to read more please see details of two of our projects with W F Electrical and Motorola.